At times during their match yesterday, Treat Huey would delicately place a backhand too close to the net for Phillip King to reach, or position a return too far behind King to retrieve.
But more often Huey -- a three-time All-Met Player of the Year at St. Stephen's/St. Agnes who just finished his freshman year at the University of Virginia -- couldn't keep the ball in play, leading to a 6-4, 6-1 loss in the first round of singles qualifying draw for the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, which begins tomorrow at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center.
"After the first set, you could definitely tell he was in better shape than I was," Huey said. "Toward the end of the first set, I was a little tired and you could tell he was still fresh, and it definitely hurt me."
Huey double-faulted five times, four after the ninth game of the first set, when Huey said he began to tire against King.
"He's young, and I've been around for quite a bit," said King, who converted four of five break points. "When I was his age I was playing about the same. Occasionally he lost focus a little bit and he gave me a few shots and I didn't give him enough chances."
Izak van der Merwe, who graduated from Old Dominion in May and in July won a Futures event in Buffalo with Huey as his doubles partner, won the Legg Mason Wild Card Challenge to earn a spot in the qualifying draw, and won his first-round match, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, over Toshiaki Sakai.
"Every time I play I try to serve as big as possible. When I'm serving big I'm pretty tough to beat," van der Merwe said.
At 6 feet 5, van der Merwe has a tough serve -- he had 12 aces against Sakai -- but admits his control is not as consistent as he would like. While his two aces in the final game of the third set helped nail the win, he also had nine double faults.
In his second-round match, van der Merwe managed only five aces in a 6-4, 7-6 loss to Ivo Heuberger, who was ranked as high as No. 55 in 2002.
"I'm at this point ranked, like, 1,200 and the guy I played is like 180," van der Merwe said. "I can kind of hold my own with them. Hopefully I'll improve over the next couple of years and play these tournaments more easily."
Legg Mason Notes: Mardy Fish, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist, withdrew with a sore wrist. A random draw from the second round of qualifiers will determine who gets Fish's spot.